The Goulburn Rugby Club will celebrate Mates Rate Day this Saturday and, while it’s not a new initiative, it is every bit as important today as it was when it started four years ago. It's a highly anticipated day, but also a day of very mixed feelings.
The day is an ongoing reminder to reach out to friends, colleagues and even strangers who you think might be doing it a bit tough. The idea is that intervention, in the form of a friendly word or a show of concern, could make all the difference to someone who is feeling alone.
It’s an important message and a day the club is keen to share and publicise throughout the community. But its origin comes from a huge loss: the death of Hugo Cunningham in May 2012.
His death was a tragic event that sent ripples throughout the whole community.
Determined to create something positive from the devastating tragedy, his parents, Jo and Jack Cunningham, spoke with the Goulburn Rugby Club to create a day that urges people to reach out to those around them, and to help encourage those in the middle of a tough time to realise there are people around them who care and resources they can call upon.
The Mates Rate Day was born and once again will include the wearing of a specially designed jumper by the first grade side, which will be auctioned off after the game in a silent auction with a $100 reserve on each jumper. The design is always unique and highly anticipated.
headspace (which opened this year due in no small part to the tireless efforts of the Cunninghams) will be on site as will the One Door Mental Health Agency.
Gold coin donations will be collected at the gate and will be distributed, along with proceeds from the auction, towards local mental health initiatives. If that wasn’t enough incentive, it’s also the last home game for the Dirty Reds against long-time adversaries the Hall Bushrangers.
The Goulburn reserve grade side is still very much in the calculations for a semi final berth, holding down fifth spot and just six competition points outside the top four. With five points available from a bonus point win, that gap could be reduced dramatically with a win against Hall.
The Reds have two more competition games in hand after this weekend – both away – so for Goulburn supporters who don’t like to travel, this will be the last opportunity to see them before the semis.
The reserve grade match starts at 1.30pm and first grade starts at 3pm.